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University of Arizona Coding Boot Camp Demo Day - April 2019
Last week, I was asked as both an Alumni and Industry Expert to participate in the University of Arizona's Boot Camp Demo Day. This is run as part of the University's Continuing and Professional Education program.
This intense boot camp takes students with little or no prior knowledge of programming, and teaches them coding, web design, database, and client/server communications over a short six months.
During the first five months, an instructor teaches them the basics, and then the last month teams of four students each are formed. Each team must come up with an idea for a website, and implement it. Typically two students will work on the front end user interface, and the other two will work on the back end server and database configuration.
At the end of the boot camp, each team is expected to demo their work to industry experts for their opinion and advice, and to answer any questions about the project.
This is where we come in. I was joined by a dozen other CEOs, CTOs and Software Engineers from prominent businesses in Tucson to walk around and watch each team give us their demo.
(In a way, this is a lot like the "Poster Sessions" we do at the IBM Systems Technical University events, but instead of posters, the teams had laptops or large computer screens to show off their website.)
This evening was organized by Lauren Loeffler, Director of Industry Engagement.
The first team, shown here with Anne Chen and Aretha Walls, had a website called Quest, to help people design their quest, such as planning out for a computer game. However, as a drag-and-drop designing tool, it could also be used to plan a variety of flowchart-like activity.
Their biggest challenge was using an open source API library that didn't quite do what they wanted, so they had to figure out how to get what they needed, and write some glue code.
The next team--Joshua Romea, Ashley Alofs, Bradley King and Brando Harrell--had an interesting website called "Restaurant Roulette", helping people decide the age-old question: What restaurant should we go to tonight?
This site was clever, in that it figured out from GPS where you were, then used an API to access local restaurants from Yelp, identified eight of the closest ones with the highest ratings, and then created a colorful wheel you could spin. It would spin and spin and finally land on the recommended choice.
This could also be used to help people pick what to cook at home for dinner, or what movie to watch on television.
A third team had a website called InstaTutor to help students find tutors based on zip code and subject matter. Similar to a dating site, students can write reviews of the tutors to help others in their decision making process. Bonnie Acuna, Angel Demerutis, William Higareda, and Jose Hernandez Torres were on that team.
A fourth team called their site "The Minimalist" which allowed people to rent out personal stash of tools, DVDs or other things to your neighbors. This eliminates having everyone maintain their own duplicate collection.
This was a great event, and look forward to the next one!